Professor Avendano leads the Health Policy Unit at the Department of Epidemiology and Health Systems in Unisanté at the University of Lausanne. His research examines how public policies, social transformations and health systems contribute to health inequalities between and within countries. His research has shown that public policies in education, pensions, long-term care systems, health care insurance, poverty, employment and urban planning shape physical and mental health and contribute to health inequalities. His work is interdisciplinary and at the crossroads between epidemiology and public health, economics, demography, sociology and public policy. Based on longitudinal (panel) data, his research uses quasi-experimental designs, natural experiments and randomised controlled trials to establish the causal impact of public policies.
His is co-investigator in the In-Care project, working with Karen Glaser and Ludovico Carrino to examines the impact of long-term care systems on inequalities in health and long-term care use across European countries and Japan. He is co-investigator in the Chances-6 project, which examines the impact of antipoverty policies on the mental health and life chances of adolescents and young people in six Low-and-Middle-Income countries in Africa and Latin America. He is co-investigator on a project funded by the Newton fund (British Council) to design and test a novel mental health intervention for young people in a human capital development programme in Colombia. Professor Avendano led the programme on Work and Welfare at King’s ESRC Centre for Society & Mental Health, where he and his colleagues collaborate to examine the impact of welfare benefit and work transformations on mental health.
He is co-PI of ALIVE , a project funded by the Wellcome Trust that examines the impact of a novel programme that combines a mental health and a poverty reduction intervention for young people in South Africa, Colombia and Bangladesh.
Together with Prof Frank Van Lenthe (Erasmus University), he shared the coordination of Mindmap (2016-2020), a European Commission funded project to examine the impact of urban environments and policies on the mental health of ageing populations across 15 cities in Europe, Canada and the US.
He was also co-PI in the Lifepath project (2015-2019), a major European consortium to understanding the causes of health inequalities in Europe. He was co-PI in the WORKLONG project (2015-2019), an ESRC- European Joint Initiative project to examine the impact of changes to retirement and pension policies on health.
He was co-PI in the ASSET project, an NIHR-funded research unit where he leads work with Ann Kelly and Nele Jensen to examine the health equity impact of interventions to strengthen health systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Professor Avendano contributed to the development of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe(SHARE), where he was involved from 2004-2010, overseeing the design of the health module. He collaborated with Professor Johan Mackenbach (Erasmus MC) in several projects that used data from mortality registries and census to examine inequalities in mortality in Europe.
He has also worked with several longitudinal and birth cohort studies, including the the UK Understanding Society survey, the UK Millennium Cohort Study, the UK Birth Cohorts, the French Constances study, the US Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), the Dutch Globe Study, and the English Longitudinal study of Ageing (ELSA), among others.